The Japanese Cutlery Andrew Zimmern Swears By

If there's one group of people who can be trusted when it comes to knowing which cutlery is the best of the best, it's chefs — like Andrew Zimmern, author and host of "Bizarre Foods America." The most important cutlery pieces to chefs or home cooks are undeniably knives, so it's important to pick out the right ones. So, which does Zimmern recommend?

On his website, Zimmern lists out his "Favorite Things" for the kitchen, including the essential knives. His go-to? A Japanese brand called Shun. Additionally, if you're looking for different options, he cites Kai for cheaper knives, Coutelier Nora for vintage knives, and Korin for collector's knives. 

But back to Shun — Zimmern's top knife brand. Zimmern has loved Shun knives (which can be bought on Amazon) ever since his friend and fellow chef Chris Cosentino gifted him a pair of the brand's knives, as is explained on Zimmern's site announcing the chef's official partnership with the brand. Zimmern stated, "Shun is stylish, affordable and performs beautifully." In another post, Zimmern explains that he appreciates how well-made they are (noting that the process of making each knife required about 100 individual steps each) and that, most importantly, the Shun knives last. 

If you're interested in buying Shun knives, you may be wondering which to choose. According to Zimmern, you only need three types of knives: a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.

Three types of knives (and some shears)

On the "Favorite Things" page of his website, Zimmern writes, "I have an embarrassing amount of them, but for your average person, I think a good chef's knife, paring knife, kitchen shears, and a serrated knife can do just about any job."

The chef's knife (which is typically between eight and 10 inches) is the most versatile and can be used for just about any chopping or slicing needs that arise during cooking prep time. Meanwhile, the paring knife (which is under three-and-a-half inches) has more specific uses as the smaller size allows for more precise cutting — you may use it to mince garlic or dice onions, for example. Finally, the serrated knife, otherwise known as the bread knife, is most used for, well, cutting bread, but can but used any time you need to cut something without putting pressure on it (as the serration allows for this). In a post on Zimmern's Substack, the chef notes that having knives that are "Shun-sharp" will make cutting easier, allowing you to avoid tearing or having to saw through what you're cutting. In the post, Zimmern also recommends his specific Shun preferences for each essential knife type, which includes the eight-inch premier grey chef's knife. 

If you're interested in expanding your knife set beyond the recommended three, Zimmern cited knives like Shun's blunt nose nakiri, which is used for vegetables, and a boning knife to remove meat from bones.